Shani Rhys James

Shani Rhys James in her studio. Photo courtesy Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff, www.artwales.com

Last updated: 28 September 2010

Award-winning artist Shani Rhys James is arguably one of the most exciting and successful painters of her generation.

(Photograph courtesy Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff, www.artwales.com)

Shani Rhys James was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1953 to a Welsh father and an Australian mother. Her family emigrated to Britain when she was a child, and Rhys James has made rural Wales her home for over 30 years. She lives in Llangadfan, near Welshpool in Powys, and is married to fellow artist Stephen West.

Rhys James attended the Loughborough College of Art between 1972 and 1973 before graduating from St Martin's School of Art, London, in 1976 with a degree in Fine Art.

Shani Rhys James' French Bedroom II. Image courtesy of the artist and provided by Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff, www.artwales.com

Shani Rhys James' French Bedroom II. Image courtesy of the artist and provided by Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff, www.artwales.com.

She has won a number of notable awards including First Prize in the Wales Open at Aberystwyth Arts Centre in 1989 (and second prize in 1990), First Prize in the Mostyn Open in 1991 and in 1992 she won the Gold Medal for Fine Art at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

In 1993 she won the Hunting/Observer Art Prize, achieved second place in the BP National Portrait Award in 1994 and in the same year was elected to the Royal Cambrian Academy.

In 2003 Rhys James won the prestigious Jerwood Painting Prize and was the winner of the Woman in Culture award at the Welsh Women of the Year Awards.

Shani Rhys James' Peonies II. Image courtesy of the artist and provided by Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff, www.artwales.com

Shani Rhys James' Peonies II. Image courtesy of the artist and provided by Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff, www.artwales.com.

Her 2004 exhibition The Black Cot resulted in a monograph being published, and is illustrated with colour reproductions of her major oil paintings.

Rhys James was made an MBE, for services to art, in the 2006 New Year's Honours list. In 2007 she won the Glyndwr Award, presented by MOMA, and was awarded an honorary fellowship from University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. In 2008 she gained an honorary fellowship from Hereford College of Art.

Selected reading

The Black Cot (2004), with an essay by Edward Lucie-Smith, Editor Eve Ropek.

Solo exhibitions

  • 1992 - Beaux Arts, Bath
  • 1993 - Blood Ties, Wrexham Library Arts Centre, touring exhibition
  • 1994 - Glyn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea; Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham; Newport Museum and Art Gallery; Carmarthen Art Gallery
  • 1995 - Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff
  • 1996 - Re-Vision, Fettered Past, Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham
  • 1997 - Facing the Self, Mostyn Art Gallery, Llandudno, also touring
  • 2000 - The inner Room, Stephen Lacey Gallery, London
  • 2003 - Significant Paintings, Museum of Modern Art Wales, Machynlleth
  • 2003 - Recent Paintings, Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff
  • 2004 - The Black Cot, Aberystwyth Arts Centre touring exhibition
  • 2005 - Layers, Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff
  • 2008 - Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff
  • 2009 - Two Ateliers, Connaught Brown Gallery, London
  • 2010 - Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff
  • 2010 - Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin

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